Izzy Eats: The art of raising a gourmand, one bite at a time

Stirring tales of eating, cooking and foraging in my never-ending quest to provide, great-tasting (local and organic whenever possible) EATS for me and my boy(s).

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Rice or Wrong?

I grew up thinking that rice was something that was generally boiled in a bag in a minute (stepmother #1 was not from the great cooks). As you can imagine, not the tastiest type of rice. Of course I now cringe at the thought of that sodden mess, never mind the idea of heated plastic.

Maybe as a result of this awful initiation into the world of rice, I would say I am still not the savviest in that department; though I do prepare it quite often. Usually I just make it pilaf style with garlic, olive oil and a bit of salt. Rice to broth or water in a 1:2 ratio. I have made brown rice, wild rice, jasmine and mixtures but for most every day things, white seems to go best.

Recently my friend R. was visiting for dinner. The rice still wasn't prepared so she offered to help. She was shocked to learn my rice to liquid ratio. She said it should always be 1:1, otherwise the rice would be too soggy. Apparently her Cuban heritage gives her license to claim superiority on the rice front, yet I was still doubtful. Why do most rice packages give directions using the 1:2 ratio? Did I have rice all wrong all these years? That night, we ended up using my ratio and she promised that when we had dinner at her place she would cook it her way.

Since I couldn't wait that long, I decided to experiment tonight. Instead of the 1:2 ratio I tried 1:1.5 The rice was drier and had a nice texture..maybe she is on to something. It was a fine accompaniment to our platter of black beans, avocado and soft tacos. Another pantry dinner for the lazy.


Anonymous said...

I always use the 1:1.5 - 1.75 ratio and I've been happy w/the results. 1:1 always seems dry to me especially when the rice is drier (or maybe I mean less porous). I'm thinking of basmati or black rice. Anyway rice is nice.

Anonymous said...

I have no ratio, in fact, other than risotto, I've only cooked rice once in my adult life, and that was last weekend. I adhered strictly to the recipe ;-)

Anonymous said...

Yes, about 30 yrs of eating white rice every day cooked by my Cuban grandmother both here and in our Island home (where we only had one type to choose from) makes me an expert of sorts. White rice (except when cooking arborio, of course, for risotto or for some sort of seafood caserole-style dish or our very famous arroz con pollo ensopado (which is the Cuban version of risotto and by the way what you will be dining at your first culinary venture at my home soon) is always 1:1 or a pinch more but not a drop more. Otherwise you end up with sog(even if only at teh bottom of the pan). We like our rice closer to the al dente version. However, this ruile only applies to white rice. Brown rice, wild rice, black rice or any other type most certainly takes a 1:1.5 ration. In fact, I have been cooking some form of brown rice for the past 12 yrs almost daily and it is not possible to cook brown rice at a 1:1 ratio. It comes out much too under done, but you have to be careful because much more than 1:1.5 and you get sog again. I like rice that is not soggy and that is lightly firm and fluffy. No sticky rice for me except at my favorite Thai or Vietnamese spots. Fluff is the true test of a great rice and you can not get fluff with sog.

I will leave you with this childhood episode. I have been told many a time that when I was about 6 yrs old my grandmother made some sort of dish (I can't remember what my mom knows best) that did not include any rice. I was devastated adn woudl nto eat dinner until I had my white rice. After all as far as I could remember at the time I had eaten white rice at least once a day for my long six yrs of age. I cried and fussed so much that my mother sat me at the dinner table and made a proposition to me. She would make the white rice I wanted, in fact a full cup of it; but I had to eat every last grain of it before I could leave the table. Well, she made the rice and I ate it and that did not stop me from going on to have rice every day of my life for the next 24 yrs. It just made me want more. Trust me I know my rice:-)

Anonymous said...

When it comes to basmati rice, I swear by 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water. (1 to 1.5) Boil water, add rice, put on lid, and if you have a crappy old electric stove like I do, turn off the heat and let the pot on the burner for 17 minutes. Perfect every time. If no crappy electric stove is available, then the faintest flame should do it.